HAMISH BIDWELL
A first crack at the senior track cycling world championships. That's what awaits an eager Westley Gough. Having already come away with a gold and two silver medals from his two tilts at the junior version, the Central Hawke's Bay rider sets off for Valencia next week to join up with the New Zealand team for the worlds in Palma, Spain.
"We all go into camp and then the individuals who will actually race will be selected on their form in training. We're riding a two-day (road) tour in Valencia and then it'll all be training on the track," said Gough (pictured below), who leaves for Spain on Sunday.
"I'd say the team pursuit is probably my main chance of a ride. You're never guaranteed a ride and some people have gone away before and missed out, but I'm pretty confident.
"If I miss out on the team pursuit, I'll probably get selected for the scratch race, or the omnium, which is a new event they've brought in this year. It's made up of five different events in one day: a 500-metre time trial, points race, scratch race, 3000-metre individual pursuit and then a standing kilo time trial.
"I raced a few of the World Cups earlier in the year and I've been getting in some really good, solid training at home for the last couple of weeks. I've been doing a lot of base-strength work and putting in some good road ks and I think I'll be in good shape when it comes to the high intensity stuff. It's been really good to be involved in the World Cups, because it was a huge step up from the junior stuff. The world champs will be a huge step up again, but the team looks like it will go well."
Gough says New Zealand will be at full strength, with only Greg Henderson of the German T-Mobile team not being released. The world championships run from March 29 to April 1.